A video posted on YouTube of a TV show host setting fire to a California magician's head is going viral. But the magician said it was no act; he claims he was attacked, reports CBS Station KCBS.
Entertainer Wayne Houchin, of Chico, Calif., was in the Dominican Republic for a Nov. 26 appearance on the show "Closer To The Stars" when the bizarre incident occurred.
According to published reports, TV host Franklin Barazarte poured a liquid on Houchin's head - flammable cologne, used in Santeria ceremonies - saying he wanted to bless the magician's act on his show.
Seconds later,. He suffered first- and second-degree burns to his face and hands.
Many viewers assumed it was a stunt or a magician's trick, but Houchin said it was an unprovoked attack.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Barazarte.
Magician and cultural anthropologist Paul Draper told KCBS that, in many cultures, performance magic is seen as supernatural, and that might have been what provoked the attack on Houchin.
"When I used to work in a magic shop as a boy, there used to be a man who would come in and scream 'Satanism' at us and throw holy water on us. And so, this is something that exists everywhere in the world," Draper said.
The magician, who's still recovering in a Dominican hospital, has posted on his Facebook page that he's "resting, healing and working through the legal process. ...
"The Dominican Republic is a beautiful country full of beautiful people. The outrage here and outpouring of support has been incredible."